Department of Health resources:
The Department of Health has published several collections of resources about COVID-19 vaccination, vaccine rollout, and clinical guidance from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). These resources are updated when new information is available, so GPs should ensure they have access to the latest versions.
ATAGI Recommendation of Novavax
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has considered the regulatory authority for Nuvaxovid (Novavax COVID-19) vaccine for use in a primary course of vaccination in people aged 18 years and older and provided their recommendations.
ATAGI’s statement recommends, in line with the TGA’s approval, that Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can only be used for the primary course of COVID-19 vaccination in people aged 18 or older.
The recommended schedule for administration is 2 doses, a minimum of 3 weeks apart. Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can be co-administered with other vaccines (for second doses) if required however, is not currently recommended for use as a booster vaccine.
ATAGI recommends Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women. ATAGI notes that there are no immunogenicity or safety data for these groups with the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. However, there are no theoretical safety concerns relating to use in pregnancy, since the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, similarly to other COVID-19 vaccines, is not a live vaccine.
- People with a prior history of SARS-CoV-2 infection, in line with recommendations for other COVID-19 vaccines.
- People with severe immunocompromise, who are recommended to receive 3 primary doses of COVID-19 vaccine - Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can be used for this purpose.
- People who have received one or more doses of another COVID-19 vaccine, including as a third dose for people with severe immunocompromise, as part of a heterologous (mixed) primary schedule.
Novavax Expression of Interest
The Expression of Interest (EOI) process for Novavax which opened on Friday, 21 January 2022, had closed on Wednesday, 26 January 2022.
The EOI is intended to identify existing participating general practices who are interested in also receiving an allocation of the Novavax vaccine for individuals over 18 years old who have not received their primary course vaccinations and have expressed an interest in this vaccine.
Subject to responses received through the EOI process, sites approved for the administration of Novavax are expected to be able to place orders for the new product in CVAS starting early February 2022.
Novavax COVID-19 vaccine will also be included in the standing Expression of Interest open for all general practices interested in expanding their participation in the Program. If you would like to take time to assess the need in your area, you can be onboarded at any time. The EOI deadline is only for those practices wanting delivery in the first delivery window.
From 23 January 2022, enhancements to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) have enabled practices to extract reports to assist them with monitoring a patient’s vaccination status including:
- downloading a practice level report that will display patients who have not yet received any doses of vaccine and/or those that have had two doses and are eligible for a booster, and
- using reports to identify individuals who are due or overdue for a booster.
General practices will be able to select an age range when running reports with the default age range for the report being 5 to 80 years old, noting there is no limitation on ages that can be selected. The expansion of the report to those individuals who have only received one dose will be released at a later date.
VOC Holiday Opening Hours
The Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) operating hours will continue in a reduced schedule of 7am to 9pm (AEDT) from Saturday 18 December 2021 to Sunday 30 January 2022.
Enquiries can still be made to the VOC during these reduced hours on 1800 318 208 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requirements for workers in health care settings who are exposed to COVID-19
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), with advice from the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) and the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG), has endorsed a Worker Permissions and Restrictions Framework for Workers in Health Care Settings.
The framework outlines nationally agreed recommendations that will support safe decision making when determining appropriate workplace restrictions and permissions for a worker exposed to COVID-19. The framework provides guidance on how GPs and practice staff can avoid having to isolate after a patient who attended the practice later tests positive to COVID-19.
The Worker Permissions and Restrictions Framework is available here.
Resources on caring for COVID-19 patients in the community
Medicare Support in Response to Omicron - GP and Other Medical Officer (OMP) Longer Telephone Consultation Factsheet– Information for the use of item numbers 92746 (for GPs) and 92747 (for OMPs).
MBS COVID-19 Management Support Service Factsheet
Managing COVID-19 at Home - Resources for patients and healthcare professionals
With a highly vaccinated population, most COVID-positive people are unlikely to get severely unwell or require hospitalisation and will be able to manage their symptoms at home – where clinically safe and appropriate to do so. These tools can help people living with COVID to know what actions they may need to take and when they may need to seek further medical help. The Department of Health has also provided links to a range of clinical guidelines published by the RACGP and the National COVID-19 Evidence Taskforce to support GPs to manage and monitor their COVID-positive patients in the community.
National Coronavirus Hotline
1800 020 080
For information about COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Vaccine Clinic Finder
Book a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic near you that suits your needs.
COVID Symptom Checker
Find out if you need to get tested or seek medical help.
Find out what you can and can’t do in your state or territory.
Managing Mild COVID-19 at Home with Assistance from your GP
For patients who have tested positive to COVID-19 and are being cared for at home with assistance from their GP.
Guidance for people that have tested positive to COVID-19, including links to specific information for states and territories.
Vaccine Side Effect Checker
Check any side effects after your vaccination.
For healthcare professionals:
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
Information for GPs and their patients to manage their ongoing health and social issues amid the pandemic, including home-based care guidelines. These guidelines include:
Evidence-based clinical guidelines for Australia’s healthcare professionals, including clinical flowcharts.
Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA)
National advice and guidance for public health units responding to a notifiable disease event, including links to specific information for states and territories.
Guidance on Ordering and PPE Distribution via PHNs
For information on what PPE is available and how to order please contact your local PHN.
Guidance on the use of PPE for Health Care Workers
Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers in the context of COVID-19.
Videos on PPE Usage:
Guidance on Community Care Pathways and Patient Escalation
For information on how to escalate COVID-positive patients in your care, please contact your PHN for details of their community care pathway.
Find your local Primary Health Network
1. Consent form: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-consent-form-for-covid-19-vaccination
2. Information and consent form for parents and guardians of children aged 5 to 11 years: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-information-and-consent-form-for-parents-and-guardians-of-children-aged-5-to-11-years
Patient information sheets
3. Information on AstraZeneca: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-information-on-covid-19-astrazeneca-vaccine
4. Information on Pfizer: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-information-on-comirnaty-pfizer-covid-19-vaccine
5. Information on Spikevax (Moderna): https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-information-on-spikevax-moderna-covid-19-vaccine
6. Information on Novavax: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-information-on-covid-19-nuvaxovid-novavax-vaccine
7. After your AstraZeneca: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-after-your-astrazeneca-vaccine
8. After your Pfizer: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-after-your-pfizer-comirnaty-vaccine
9. After your Spikevax (Moderna): https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-after-your-spikevax-moderna-vaccine
10. After your Novavax vaccine: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-after-your-nuvaxovid-novavax-covid-19-vaccination
11. Provider information on consent: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-consent-information-for-providers-covid-19-vaccination-consent-and-faqs
12. Frequently asked questions on the Taskforce Ivermectin recommendation: https://covid19evidence.net.au/wp-content/uploads/NC19CET-Ivermectin-FAQs-20210826.pdf
Clinical guidance and decision guides
13. ATAGI Clinical guidance: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/advice-for-providers/clinical-guidance
14. Clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/advice-for-providers/clinical-guidance/clinical-recommendations
15. COVID-19 vaccine doses and administration: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/advice-for-providers/clinical-guidance/doses-and-administration
16. Shared decision making guide – pregnancy: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-shared-decision-making-guide-for-women-who-are-pregnant-breastfeeding-or-planning-pregnancy
17. Shared decision making guide – frail older people: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-shared-decision-making-guide-for-frail-older-people-including-those-in-residential-aged-care-facilities
18. Shared decision making guide – palliative care: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-shared-decision-making-guide-for-people-receiving-palliative-care-or-end-of-life-care
19. Shared decision making guide – immunocompromise: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/atagi-covid-19-vaccination-shared-decision-making-guide-for-people-with-immunocompromise
20. Primary care guide on TTS: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-primary-care-approach-to-thrombosis-with-thrombocytopenia-syndrome-after-covid-19-astrazeneca-vaccine
21. Provider information – TTS: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-information-for-immunisation-providers-on-thrombosis-with-thrombocytopenia-syndrome-tts-following-covid-19-vaccination
22. Patient information – TTS: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/patient-information-sheet-on-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-and-thrombosis-with-thrombocytopenia-syndrome-tts
23. COVID-19 vaccination – Guide to engage and support aged care workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-guide-to-engage-and-support-aged-care-workers-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine
Resources for doctors working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
Members are also reminded that if you are part of the vaccine roll out and have any problems, the key point of contact in the Commonwealth to raise these is the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) that can be contacted on:
Phone: 1800 318 308
Note: The VOC hours of operation are between 7am to 10pm (AEDT)